The border between Scotland and England is a long contested stretch of scenery, as dramatic to look at as its history. While some of the battles here have been bloody, and there's a historic reputation for lawlessness, the Scottish Kings were also battling for 'hearts and minds' and built some impressive monuments to their wealth and power in the region. Some of the best places to stay in the Scottish Borders are the old manor houses and strongholds built to fortify and rule the area.
The Scottish Borders is about 1,800 square miles of land stretched below Edinburgh and The Lothians from the moors in the west to the Berwickshire coast in the east.
Hikers will know the Scottish Borders region as the northern end of the Pennine Way, a long distance walking trail which follows part of Hadrian's Wall from Edale to Kirk Yetholm. The Way finishes just beyond the most beautiful waterfalls in the whole of the British Isles.
If you want to walk across the Borders that's an option too, along the Sir Walter Scott Way, which passes between Moffat and Cocksburnpath.
These emerald mountains, jade valleys and purple-heather moorlands are also favoured by mountain bikers.
And these colours are also predominant in some of the best known fabrics produced by the region's historic textile industry.
History enthusiasts will enjoy the famous Borders abbey towns of Melrose, Kelso and Jedburgh, and those with a literary bent might be interested in taking a pilgrimage to Galashiels, near Abbotsford, home of Sir Walter Scott, or visit Wigtown for its annual book festival.
The scale of the landscape, and its remoteness, means that one of the best ways to experience the Scottish Borders is by car. Plan a road trip to the towns and villages which most interest you, or else fly by the seat of your pants and discover the quiet majesty of the landscape and the beauty of the towns dotted throughout it.
Some of the most fascinating towns have no particular headline to sell themselves to visitors - which is why many people drive right through to Edinburgh, but they can easily become very special to you.
A 19th century country guesthouse nestled in the village of Innerleithen. Eight individually designed rooms still retain many of their original features. Relax by the fireplace or enjoy the many outdoor pursuits. Only 30 miles from Edinburgh this is the ideal country bolt hole.
Country house hotel in the heart of Borders country which prides itself on its relaxed atmosphere and friendly service. The situation is brilliant for outdoorsy types and dogs are positively welcomed! A charming country escape with award winning rustic cuisine.
Intimate hideaway in the heart of the Scottish Borders. Peaceful ambiance, good food, roaring fires, and lovely views of the countryside.
A charming B&B just over the Scottish border. Eclectic but traditional interiors and bedrooms with all the mod cons. An excellent kitchen serves fresh seasonal produce on request. Not too far from Glasgow or Edinburgh. The ideal stop off.
by Dumfries, Borders
An impressive country house set in a stunning location. Traditional homely rooms feature large sash windows and chintz fabrics. Stunning Scottish cuisine with award winning service. Plenty of country pursuits in the surrounding area. An ideal country escape.
A comfortable country house hotel in beautiful countryside with great sporting opportunities and excellent food for hungry sportsmen and women.
Dumfries and Galloway, Borders
Steeped in history, this former hunting lodge has hosted Churchill and Eisenhower. Enjoy unspoilt views of the Scottish coastline from your cosy, warm palleted room, many of which have tiled fireplaces. There are 38 acres to explore and a Michelin star restaurant. Haute cuisine in the highlands!